Key ways to create a positive workplace that employees never want to leave
At SMART Business Solutions our people are our business so holding onto our employees for the long term is critical to the success of our business. Recruiting and onboarding new employees is a costly and time-consuming process for any business which is why you ideally want to hold onto great staff when you find them. Because let’s face it, a high staff turnover is not only disruptive to the overall workflow; it doesn’t exactly instil confidence in those employees who choose to remain. Over the past 5 years SMART has grown from 2.5 to a team of 15, with the most recent two hired last week. So yes you may see new faces, but only because the team is growing! In our industry they say accountants change firms every 2 year, so at SMART we are proud to have a very high staff retention rate.
So why invest in your corporate culture? Studies show a chaotic workplace culture affects employee motivation, performance, and productivity. Another spin-off of such a ‘revolving door’ trend is increased spend on training and development. You also risk losing customers who cannot help but notice the constant flow of new faces, causing them to also lose confidence in your business’s ability to deliver a consistently reliable product or service and driving them to go elsewhere. The bottom line is that your bottom line suffers, possibly irretrievably.
Does the above analogy sound all too familiar? If so, what can you do to reverse such a negative trend before it undermines the very foundation of your business? Well, the logical approach would be to examine the issues at the heart of your employees’ dissatisfaction and their willingness to get up and go at the slightest provocation or hint of a better prospect.
To this end, focusing on the following five aspects may help address the main reasons employees tend to leave a job based on more recent studies.
Leadership or the lack thereof
Weak leadership is identified as the number one cause for employees quitting their posts. The sentiment ‘people don’t leave their jobs; they leave their bosses’ perfectly sums up this trend.
If your boss doesn’t inspire you, if he or she doesn’t appear to give a damn about the business or you, or worse, if he or she is a bully, you can hardly be blamed for feeling disenchanted or struggling to give your best in the workplace.
On the other hand, a boss who is viewed as a mentor, someone who is always on hand to offer guidance and support, who demonstrably cares for the business and considers his or her employees as valuable, is likely to inspire employees to go the extra mile even when they’re feeling exhausted or under the weather.
Being a strong leader requires emotional intelligence and excellent people management skills. It is not enough to have the expertise, work experience or technical skills. Remember, it is your staff’s perception that counts here. So, if you’re struggling to hold onto good people, checking your leadership is a good starting place for dealing with the issue.
Awareness of employee needs
Regularly checking in with employees is vital to keeping your finger on the workplace pulse. This goes beyond the typical annual performance review. Rather, frequent face-to-face meetings between your leadership and employees are the way to go with the focus being on constructive development ideas as opposed to KPIs.
Another option is to create an avenue for anonymous feedback regarding the workplace status and staff problems, so taking the guesswork out of how your employees genuinely feel about their lot. Anonymity allows people to be brutally honest without fear of reprisal.
The combination of the above solutions can help you identify potential problems before it’s too late and your employees are lost to you.
Enough opportunity for growth
It is only natural for people to want to pursue a career path that offers the possibility of advancement. Nothing saps an employee’s ambition, creativity, and loyalty faster than the realisation that he or she is stuck in a dead-end job.
Ensuring your staff understands that working for your business offers realistic opportunities for growth is essential to securing their commitment long term. Otherwise, you can be sure they will look elsewhere.
Another aspect to this point circles back to the role of leadership in your business. Matching an employee with a mentor who acknowledges his or her talent and who can set him or her on a career path that is challenging but also carries excellent prospects, is a sure-fire way to win him or her over.
Ultimately, encouraging your employees to achieve their career goals and providing the environment in which this is possible should be viewed as an investment in the future of your business – a way to counter the drain on talent and ensure stability and sustainability.
Adopting a flexible approach
The nature of the workplace is changing. And people are more aware than ever regarding their physical health and emotional well-being plus the importance of striking a better work-life balance.
Devising a flexible working environment which honours your employees as people with personal needs can go a long way to securing their loyalty and ensuring their productivity levels don’t lag.
Enter the upside of technology which enables staff to contribute whether they are in the office or on the go, so negating them having to sacrifice their personal needs to fulfil their job requirements and preventing any feelings of resentfulness.
And with people increasingly concerned about the dangers of a sedentary, high-stress lifestyle, it pays to investigate the positive influence standing desks, ergonomic support mats, a built-in mini-gym or even a meditation room could have on staff morale.
Improving your workplace culture
What does your workplace culture look like? Is there an atmosphere of transparency, success, creativity, engagement, accountability, and recognition for a job well done? Or is there a more discordant undertone of bullying, fear, secrecy, and conflict? And how do you compare with your competitors on this score?
At the risk of stating the obvious, a discordant culture leads to poor performance, dwindling motivation, and finally, a high staff turnover rate as employees are unlikely to stick around in such a toxic environment. Go-getting employees are naturally drawn to an empowering and harmonious culture where they will be valued and rewarded based on their talents and input.
Whilst I would love it, it would be unrealistic to expect every employee to remain with you for the duration of their career, but it is certainly not healthy to consider poor staff retention and ‘job hopping’ as the ‘new normal’ and merely a symptom of the modern work scape.
Sure, employees do and will leave to get married, start a family, relocate or go travelling, and other such life-changing reasons. However, contrary to what you may think, they rarely leave based solely on their remuneration package. There are usually other factors in play when people choose to quit, and at least five of these factors you can do something to combat.
Want to know about how to create a workplace culture where employees can thrive and in turn contribute to the ongoing success of your business? Why not learn from the best? SMART Business Solutions was recently shortlisted for the ‘Workplace of the Year’ at the 2018 Optus Business Awards. We are here to help you develop a technology-driven and holistic leadership approach that will ensure your employees go the extra mile for you, every time.
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